Feb. 4, 2000
Year two of head coach Walt Williams' rebuilding project is underway, and if the Cougars continue to take the leaps and bounds they have under his tutelage, it may not be long before Washington State becomes a factor in the nation's toughest conference. The success that the young squad had in the fall provides plenty of reasons for optimism, according to Williams.
"Our goal is to make Washington State competitive in the Pac-10. We want to play well this year and we want to be somebody that is not just a second thought and somebody that can compete year in and year out. We are making strides towards that," Williams said. "We've already beaten Cal this year and we have pushed Washington and I think there are some chances if we play really well to surprise some folks."
Sophomore Jon Reehoorn will be one of the players that Williams relies on to take his program to the next level. The Burlington, Wash. native came to Washington State as a walk-on, but is leading the team statistically and is shaping up to be a force in the Pac-10. Reehoorn placed in the top 15 in four of five fall events, including an eighth place finish at the Fairway Club Invitational. "He never ceases to amaze me how good he is and how hard he works and how good he is going to be down the road," Williams said.
Senior Eric Toomey is the most experienced golfer on a team loaded with underclassmen. The University of Nevada transfer is heading into his final campaign trying to regain his 1997-1998 form, a season where he posted a 73.1 stroke average. "He is definitely the most experienced player we have on the team. He got in to a little bit of a slump last year and he is starting to come out of that now. He has really helped the team with some leadership," Williams said.
Junior Jeremy Taylor, from West Richland, Wash., was a consistent fall performer that Williams feels hasn't tapped his complete potential, yet. "He is perhaps the most talented of anybody on the team. He seems to get a little more comfortable every time we go out. He is going to be a great player down the road." Taylor's fall highlight was a 16th place showing at the Fairway Club Invitational.
Freshmen Matt McGeeney and Dustin White stepped into the Cougar lineup and made an immediate impact during the fall season. McGeeney, from San Pedro, Calif., made his collegiate debut at the Husky Invitational and shot first and third round 74s enroute to a 21st place finish. The next week he shot a career-best 219 and once again finished 21st at the Wolf Pack Classic. White, a Pueblo West, Colo. native, played in all five fall tournaments. The true freshman's best performance came at the Husker Invitational, where he shot a three-round 222 and tied for 16th.
Sophomore Roger Flynn, who carries a 4.0 GPA, Made his only fall appearance at the Stan Sheriff Invitational, finishing 26th in only his fourth career event. Sophomore Sean Nuzzo, of Federal Way, Wash. and junior Tim Ressa, from Pullman, Wash., have played in a combined seven career events and are expected to contribute in the spring. Lon Morris Junior College transfer Steven Bowles is redshirting the 1999-2000 season.
There are plenty of reasons to believe that Cougar golf is on the way up, but Williams is careful not to put too much pressure on his young team. "I try not to get too caught up in expectation. Every team in the Pac-10 goes to the NCAA Regionals, so I think if you can be competitive in the Pac-10, you're competitive nationally. We are trying to get to that level now. We might sneak up on some people in the spring."